UK Drops PCR Testing Requirement For Some Travelers

UK Drops PCR Testing Requirement For Some Travelers

Fully vaccinated travelers will no longer need to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding or undergo quarantine upon arrival, announced the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

“I can announce that in England from 4:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Friday we will be scrapping the pre-departure test, which discourages many from traveling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense,” PM told lawmakers in parliament.

This revised entry policy still requires vaccinated travelers to take a lateral flow test on the second day after arrival. 

People vising after Jan. 9 at 4:00 am, can opt for a lateral/Rapid flow test instead of a PCR. (Note that it’s Jan. 9 instead of Jan. 7.)

In case results return positive, travelers must self-isolate and take a free PCR test.

Everyone is compelled to book this test before departure. Lateral flow tests can be scheduled from Jan. 7 at 4:00 am.

These modifications apply to people 17 years old and older. 

On the other side, flying will not be that easy for unvaccinated visitors.

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Those who cannot produce a vaccine certificate must submit a PCR test taken up to three days prior to arrival, quarantine for ten days, and take a PCR test on day two and day eight of their arrival.

All of it must be scheduled and paid for before arrival in the country.

The new loosened rules only apply to England for the time being, but Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland should be catching up over the coming weeks.

This move came as a surprise given that the country is seeing the worst wave of infections in the pandemic’s history.

Also yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that one in 15 people in England was infected with one of the COVID-19 variants in the final week of 2021.

“We are experiencing the fastest growth in COVID cases that we have ever known,” the PM told lawmakers.

The soaring number of cases has put enormous pressure on public services like hospitals, which are dealing with personnel shortages and rising admissions.

Still, the Prime Minister has avoided adopting stricter domestic COVID-19 restrictions. 

Instead, he argues that continuing with the vaccine booster effort and increasing self-protection will be enough to fight this new wave of infections.